TV3 has been given an extract from the Spencer Trust’s records which show Sir Robert Jones’ $25,000 donation did go to New Zealand First.
Grant Currie one of the Trust’s three trustees said its sole purpose was to receive donations from NZ First supporters and pass them to the party.
The Trust was formed in August 2005 – its intention was to channel money from donors to New Zealand First.
Its bank statement shows the first payment made into the trust was from Tirohanga Holdings Limited, the company of which Sir Bob Jones is a majority shareholder.
He gave $25,000 on the 18th of August 2005.
The statement shows that money along with another anonymous $25,000 donation was paid to New Zealand First less than a month later, on the 7th of September.
“If the allegation is that Mr Jones’ donation didn’t go where he intended it to then it completely refutes that allegation,” says Currie.
Currie would not talk about the blacked out donations – saying they were made on a confidential basis.
But Act MP Rodney Hide says the blacked out donations are more evidence the SFO should be investigating – because those donations, and Jones’s, were never declared to the electoral commission by New Zealand First.
“The whole trust now needs to be broken open by the serious fraud office and looked at because it’s clearly a device to break the law. These monies have never been declared as required by the law,” says Hide.
The Electoral Commission has confirmed no payments over $10,000 were declared by the New Zealand First Party in 2005 – a technical breach of electoral law.
But New Zealand First cannot be prosecuted for it now – the window closes if the alleged crime is not investigated within 6 months.
There would have been nothing wrong about the donations had they been declared – and had Winston Peters not built his political career on his opposition to secret donations.
It is too late to act on any breach of the electoral law, but there is no statute of limitations on accusations of hypocricy.